How Much Money Do Alcoholics Actually Spend On Alcohol?
Many people who drink alcoholic beverages will indulge in one a day. Just this one beverage ends up costing an average of $364 a year. That’s a lot of money, and alcoholics drink a whole lot more than just one drink per day!
If you’re one of the people that drink a cocktail after work, you’re not alone. Approximately 30% of the American population drinks one drink a day. For those of you drinking more than one, you’re in 20% of the population, and those who consume 10 or more drinks a day make up 10% of Americans. This equates to being a lot of people, and that also means a lot of money.
In 2016, people spent $68 billion on alcohol. It’s obvious the alcoholic beverage industry is profiting a great deal from daily and binge drinkers.
Breaking Down the Costs
Drinking at a bar or club is much more expensive than buying alcohol from a liquor or grocery store, but it can still deplete a bank account quickly. Being a heavy drinker as a woman can mean more than 8 drinks per week or 3 drinks per occasion. For men, it’s 15 drinks per week, or more than 4 per occasion.
Drinking two drinks a day at $7 each will mean you spend at the very least $100 a week on alcohol. That means $400 per month spent on alcohol, and that’s for only 2 drinks per day! Even if you’re buying a liter of alcohol at a time, which can yield about 8 drinks if you use 4oz of liquor per drink, you’ll spend between $20 to $40 each. If you need two liters of alcohol to get you through the week, then that’s still between $40 and $80 that you’re spending per week. So as you can see, it’s still expensive to drink alcohol even if you buy in bulk.
When wine is the alcohol of choice, the cost is even higher. It’s estimated that it costs around $800 a month, or $10,000 a year, to support a heavy drinker’s wine habit.
Factors Influencing the Cost of Alcohol
As any seasoned drinker knows, you have many options when it comes to an alcoholic beverages. The choice of beverage determines the cost. These are the factors that influence how much is spent on alcohol.
We already covered this above. It’s obvious the more you drink the more you’ll spend on alcohol.
Bingeing or Constant Buzz
Some people want to live life with a constant buzz and depending on how long they have been drinking, this could mean consuming exorbitant amounts of alcohol a day. However, bingeing can also be just as expensive if the person has a high tolerance. What costs more? Probably the constant buzz, since over time an increasing amount of alcohol is needed to stay intoxicated.
Quality vs. Cheap
Vodka prices range from $15 to $45+ depending on if you want the cheapest or best quality. Most alcoholics choose either the cheapest possible or something a bit above it, while people who are professional alcoholics will choose the more expensive bottles. This usually comes down to a person’s budget.
Metro areas are notorious for charging more for alcohol. The cost of living is higher in these areas, so it makes sense. Rural areas are much less expensive because the cost of living is much lower. However, it’s much easier for someone in a city to get to the liquor or grocery store as opposed to someone who lives many miles from one. This may mean that the person needs to pay for transportation or at least gas, which is an added cost.
Drinking Alone or With Friends
When drinking alone, a person can expect to have more of the bottle to finish by themselves, however they may also need less bottles of alcohol in that case. With friends, a person with an alcohol abuse disorder has to share, meaning more bottles bought and more money spent. Unless friends are buying and sharing equally, then providing drinks for others who come around means more money out-of-pocket.
Some people with alcohol addiction keep liquor in various places, especially if they are hiding their habit. For them, this means keeping multiple places stocked. This results in multiple bottles being bought and more often, as well. For someone who is drinking openly, this might mean only buying bottles when one is close to finishing or to last them through the week and for the weekend.
Level of Tolerance
People who have been drinking for a long time often need more alcohol than others do to get the same effects as someone who hasn’t been drinking for a while. This means that over time, an increasingly larger amount of alcohol needs to be purchased, which means more money is spent.
Choosing Money Over Alcohol
With alcohol being so bad for your physical, mental, and financial health, the choice is clear – choose money over alcohol. A young woman, Cait Flanders, chronicled on her blog her journey to becoming sober and estimated that she spent almost $36,000 over 14.5 years on partying, which is about $2,500 a year. What could you do with that money?
It’s difficult to end a drinking habit. It’s become part of your life. However, there comes a time when you must decide what benefits your life as opposed to what does not.
You can start to quit alcohol by cutting down on how much you drink each day. As your body gets used to lesser amounts, you can continue to decrease it until you’re not drinking anymore. Again, this is much harder than it seems.
It’s why so many people decide to seek help for alcohol addiction. You can too. Learn more about your alcohol use and how to stop drinking so much here.